One billion dollar annual loss due to illegal ore trafficking in DRC

NGOs and the UN have recently released reports revealing the illegal trafficking of mineral resources in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the U.S. Treasury, most of the gold produced in the country is smuggled into the illegal markets of neighboring countries, including Rwanda and Uganda.

This illegal trafficking of minerals deprives the Democratic Republic of Congo of significant profits from gold production. In an interview with the Financial Times, Congolese Finance Minister Nicolas Kazadi estimated this economic loss at $1 billion per year. He also accused neighboring Rwanda of being the main beneficiary of the fraudulent trade.

Charges based on some estimates

However, these accusations are based on estimates. According to Jacques Mukena, a specialist in governance and economics at the Congolese Institute for Research on Politics, Governance and Violence, "it is difficult to know how much is going through the illegal channels. These are only estimates based on exports from Rwanda and Uganda. Indeed, there are no gold refineries in the DRC, but there are some in Rwanda and Uganda. It is on the basis of the export figures from these refineries that we can estimate more or less the quantity that these two countries export. This does not correspond to their local production".

The U.S. State Department said armed groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo derive their income primarily from gold smuggling. These groups profit from illegal taxation, looting of mines and collaboration with smugglers.

On January 13, 2023, the Democratic Republic of Congo established a partnership with the United Arab Emirates to stop illegal gold trafficking activities. This partnership will allow for the transfer of "certified" gold between the two nations to deter neighboring countries, particularly Rwanda, from supporting resource trafficking.

Leave a Reply